Greetings from Family Travel Week, sponsored by The Family Backpack, a new online guide that connects you to the best family travel blog posts. Enjoy seven days of family travel stories that will help you plan your next adventure, reduce pre-vacation stress and provide useful tips for once you arrive at your destination. Wheels up!
When Andrea Khan traveled to France for two weeks with her high school French Club, it was a life-changing experience and one that ignited the wanderlust that would eventually lead her to 26 different countries and hundreds of cities.
"It was so fascinating to see something so completely different than anything I had ever seen before," says Khan, who grew up in La Crosse. "Paris is still my favorite city."
Fast forward a couple of decades, and Khan is living in Shorewood with her husband and three children, ages 9, 7 and 3. Neither marriage nor parenthood has dampened Khan’s desire to see the world, but the way in which she travels has, obviously, changed immensely.
Research and pre-planning when traveling with kids is absolutely necessary, and although Khan enjoys it, she also found it overwhelming because the abundance of family travel information was scattered and required a lot of digging to find useful articles.
"I have spent hours and hours planning vacations over the years and a lot of time reading family travel blogs and websites to glean insight for my family’s travel," says Khan. "I finally had an ‘aha moment’ and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if all of this information was in one searchable website to make it easier for parents?’"
Hence, Khan transformed her ‘aha moment" into a reality, and over the course of a year – with the help of Happy Interactive web designer, Unbox Interactive and OnMilwaukee – started The Family Backpack, a travel and lifestyle company with a mission "designed to make family vacation planning easier."
The Family Backpack is an online guide helping families plan vacations from international travel to road trips in the United States while also providing insight and tips once the vacation has been planned.
The Family Backpack is constantly updated and divided into categories that link to hundreds of useful family travel blogs and websites. Khan also writes her own content based on some of the trips she's taken with her family, which include Puerto Rico, Cuba, California, Spain and St. Martin, to name a few. Khan ends most of her blog posts with the expression "wheels up," one she uses both while on vacation and at home to encourage her family to keep moving.
"Whether you’re traveling internationally, or going on a multi-state road trip or just going to grandma’s house, Family Backpack will direct you to the information you need," she says.
Khan says the travel destination itself is less important than the travel experience. It’s an opportunity to explore, make memories, step outside comfort zones and, most of all, learn.
"It's so fun and enlightening to see the world through your children's eyes. It provides a new perspective on yourself and the world that you live in," says Khan. "The entire family realizes there are so many differences in the world but also so many similarities. Plus, if a 3-year-old is going to have a meltdown it's so much less stressful when you're overlooking Lake Tahoe versus at Target."
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.